In our last post, we mentioned we might keep you up to date with what Wade and I are up to while we spend 3 weeks at different ends of the world. Well, here is the first episode of our “life at the antipodes” series! The 20th of February marked Chris’s departure for France and Wade’s cyclone watch preparation in Australia!
In Australia: Cyclone Watch
When a cyclone is forecast to descend on the region you find yourself in, the safe thing to do (and a requirement of our insurance company) is to take shelter in a mangrove or in a cyclone rated marina, tie the boat securely, take your sails down, remove anything that might fly such as clears, shades, kayaks on deck, and hunker down! Helped by his cousin Greg and a group of his friends, Wade moved Anui from our anchorage at Raby Bay, to a marina berth at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly in anticipation of the arrival of Cyclone Oma. He then proceeded to prepare the boat for the onslaught. Here are some of the photos he took as he first secured Anui to the jetty, removed the jib and screecher, lashed the main, and later took down all the shade cloth.
So these preparations have occupied the first couple of days prior to the weekend and now all Wade can do is sit tight and wait. Good opportunity to instal a few bits and pieces such as a fuel filter on the dinghy, cigarette lighter sockets in both bedrooms, and work out how the HF radio works, which is proving a bit of a challenge!
Luckily the cyclone has now been downgraded to category one, is moving back offshore and tracking further north. That is the thing with cyclones, it is hard to predict what they will do, in which direction they will track, where, if and when they will make landfall. What is clear is that when combined with King Tides, they produce pounding surf, huge seas, ferocious winds, a copious amount of rain and can create havoc in coastal communities. So the last thing you want to do is be out there floating at anchor!
In France: cold body, warm heart!
What a long way it is to go from Brisbane in Australia to Evreux in France, where my Dad picked me up! Counting the train trips and the long flights, it took 34 hours to get there! It was a 350 C hot and sticky summer’s day when I left Brisbane, and a 20 C cold, foggy winter morning when I reached Evreux. But our first days together are bringing warmth to our heart. Dad is in good spirits and we both have lots of catching up to do. Despite being very lonely, having little enthusiasm for life and wishing he could “just end it all and be with Colette” (my mum who died 2.5 years ago), he has recently organized improvements to his house, bought a new car which we have just picked up, and trying to make his life as comfortable as possible for whatever time he has left.
We are lucky that the weather is wonderful: crisp sunny days. So we have been able to try the new car and make a couple of lovely trips in the countryside. Here are a few shots of the abbey of the Bec Hellouin and its gorgeous village.
Although I fear for Papa as his condition will unavoidably deteriorate, I soak up the time we have together right now. It is a lesson in relishing the moment, not projecting too far ahead nor putting off doing what you really want to do or say. But more than anything else, it is about the importance of cherishing the people you hold dear.
The huge butterflies Wade and I had as we were preparing for our respective big events have now dissipated. Anticipation… When you are faced with anxious times, nothing is more grueling than the simple act of waiting. Anticipating pain is like enduring it twice. So you might as well anticipate pleasure instead. That’s my little bit of wisdom for this post.